North Atlantic Treaty Organization, United States, Denmark discussed on The Dave Gram Show on WDEV


It's the Dave Graham show-me WD FM am and we continue into the second half hour our program. This morning it's Friday the thirteenth of December two thousand in nineteen and my next guest is stand sloan. He's nineteen sixty one graduate of my high school a local. Oh boy makes good. He goes off into the world and becomes one of the well known international expert on NATO. He's a visiting scholar Middlebury College. I spent some time with the CIA. Okay and Stance loan was scheduled from what we understand to speak at a conference this week. I think it was scheduled for Tuesday in Denmark and He was going to be talking about The future of NATO the current status of NATO the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of courses the Stalwart alliance the Western alliance between Europe and the United States. That has been the counterweight of the West to formerly the Soviet bloc and more recently Russia and of course We've had some strange ranger goes on with Russia. In recent years given our current administration the President of the United States has been quite critical of NATO and and many people have accused him of sort of undermining its fundamental purposes and he of course Takes the view that the United States has been too long The principal partner in terms terms of funding NATO in the military alliance in particular. That Europe hasn't done its share. We need to get more out of our our allies in Europe. If the if anything along the lines of session lions GonNa Continue. So there's a lot going on a lot of moving parts with NATO and stance loan is Was GonNa be speaking at this conference in Denmark. He has been somewhat what critical of president trump in president trump's stances on NATO over the over recent years all of a sudden the ambassador to Denmark for the United States that a woman named Carla Sands Who background as as an actress and chiropractor from California She She was. She's ambassador to Denmark and she weighed in a and said. I don't really want this guy. Speaking at this conference in Denmark and the Danish hosts of the conference then turned around and said well. Guess what we're going to have the conference. The whole thing's cancelled cancelled. So weird events there in relation especially in my estimation to the whole idea of free speech and so on. We do still have free speech here in Vermont brought in on including on the day of Graham show here. WD Ev FM and am and Long Story Short Dan. I'm sorry stand Sloane Stanley. Sloan is my guest this morning here in the studio. Thanks for coming by Mr Sloan. They thanks for inviting me in so if I got the basic facts of that story about your invitation this invitation Asian and the cancellation. All all right you do it The first reaction of the Danish Atlantic Council was the the in-country sponsor for the event was to let me know that I was off the program Then there was a very strong reaction to that and the next day they cancelled the entire conference partly because they thought it would become a debate about what had happened rather than about NATO and they wanted to do something about about NATO. And that's why I was invited. Yeah you know I I was saying the last talking on the phone about your appearance here today in one irony year is that if the ambassador to Denmark had not intervened and you had been allowed to speak week at the conference Just as planned and everything had gone off smoothly How much do you think the story would have gotten versus? What it's getting getting now? It would have gotten some local play because the local press media know something about me know my views and know that I have been critical all of the president and his approach to NATO and so it would have gotten some local press and I think that probably would have been the end of it but the action of the ambassador and at this this point we don't know whether she had guidance from Washington or not The State Department apparently has said that he didn't give guidance along those lines and of some sources that I have in Denmark say that People at the embassy believes that they did have guidon so we don't know whether it was her initiative or not but in any case It it has become a huge story and You know in in some way I think The Danish population prestigious waiting for something about this ambassador. I really think they feel disrespected. Getting an ambassador who apparently was appointed largely because she'd given several hundred two thousand dollars to the trump to help two thousand sixteen campaign. Yeah there apparently is an important qualification. if you look at for instance Gordon Som- Limousine Bachelor to the European Union. I think he's primary qualification for such an important post in international relations was being large donor to the trump campaign to as well right. Yes and this says happened with previous presidents as well but usually presidents try to appoint someone not only who is given to their campaign or supported them politically but also oh someone who has some experience or or contact to the country. They're being appointed to in this case. There was none of that the and and you know I. I think that that is a balancing act that I don't mean to pick on trump exclusively about this because you're right Particularly to to the smaller and more minor posts You know Some of the European capitals we hardly ever hear of they tend to get ambassador appointments under many presidents who have Been Campaign donors and and who have had MAYBE NOT IN A. They certainly haven't come up through the foreign service. Let's put it. That way certainly is true. The the problem is because Denmark. Marcus very strong important. Small country but NATO ally send troops to Afghanistan and they're very loyal ally and to treat them like this yes. I think they felt disrespected. And you know that that actually is a point worth making because You're right about Denmark. I mean I I do follow. Follow the history of the I happen to be a Danish heritage myself so I sort of follow. Follow the history and the role of Denmark in in the NATO alliance in another realms realms Just based on that kind of personal curiosity but I m my sense has been that they have been a real a real stalwart supporter of of NATO For throughout its existence really and have been among the first step up and several of the conflicts in which the United States is putting together Sort of multilateral Darrelle forces and so on and it sometimes to the point of criticism. those especially on the left who don't like the quote Washington consensus and the idea. You know the historic idea. That came out of you know George H W Bush about a unit polar world and and kind of the US ruling ruling the oceans and so one Denmark was willing in some people's estimations but but they They certainly have been there. And so now we have this situation where The United States is Kind of given the back of the hand I guess is that fair I think so the Danes in addition to being loyal allies in sort of the the sense of making contributions the they also believe strongly in the values that underlie the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the preamble envelop the North Atlantic Treaty in nineteen forty nine specified that the alliance stood for democracy individual liberty and the rule of law and the Danes. Really believe leave and and take this seriously and they believe that at this point the American administration is not necessarily serving as the the sitting on the hill. That Reagan used to talk about Providing guiding light for democracy is everywhere. They see us as falling off from that kind of off. Soft power leadership you know this is this is so important and this to me is really the crux of why I wanted to be a guest on the show today because We have we have a certain set of values that America traditionally stood for in the world. At least ideally now. Obviously there's a lot of real politics that goes on and there's a lot of criticism from both right and left of what the US actually doing versus what it says it's doing and its etc etc but on good days in the ideal world the the United States has been a beacon for Four things like free speech. The First Amendment to the constitution talks about a tolerance for dissent essentially and And here we have a person who is very well trained and schooled in in all aspects relating to NATO yourself Stanley early. Sloan and you are someone who is not afraid. It hasn't been afraid to speak out and say I think the president is wrong. Headed about certain aspects of his remarks act actions actions related to NATO and And so again ideally. You'd say well this this person doesn't like what the president is doing. bring them to the conference. Allow him to say that. Get another speaker to up there. Who are willing to defend what the president is doing? Have the back and forth. This is called The discussion that you hope will lead to quote unquote more perfect union elsewhere in the constitution. That phrase right. I happen to believe in the value debate in different perspectives. Yeah and in fact I've been doing public diplomacy speaking engagements for the State Department since the early nineteen eighties and the State Department has always respected the fact that it speakers may have different views than current administration policy. I've never found in all of those years speaking for the State Department. I've I've never had the experience where either an ambassador or an embassy decided that My criticism was Something that they they didn't want to put before foreign audiences and I've always argued that that's real strength of our democracy is the fact that our government through the State Department has been willing thing to provide speakers to foreign audiences at demonstrate that we have different points of view we can argue about them and we have effective democracy. You know and and and that's the that's the That is the aura. I think the United States wants to put out in front of an audience like this at a conference in Denmark anywhere in Europe or anywhere in the world really is to go out there and say we are. We are strong enough that we and self confident enough that we actually encourage criticism because sometimes we get learn some things and improve our game. That's you know that's that's That's what that's what it's all about. I mean again that more perfect union phrase is is really the sort sort of the push toward todd. What people in industry have called total quality improvement? You know and And that's been been a key part of the country three strengths over the couple of centuries it's been in existence and I just I really bothers me frankly to see it diminished that that principle diminish this idea of uh of of encouraging criticism. And you know from what I've seen of of I. I've actually been to a couple of conferences. And so on where people from the state eight department were speaking and and it almost seemed I remember one When I was in Europe years and years ago the The the goal seemed to be to actually purposely Ashley bring in people of different views and and say you know. Here's here's view a and here's view. Let's have it out kind of thing. And and and the and the idea that the that the United States of America could be a key sponsor of this event and willing to hear pretty diametrically opposed views on the topic at hand would be just something that I think other folks around the world really looked at that and said wow that. That's that's that's a sign of a strong country and a strong democracy that it's able and willing to do that Are we do you think we're going to be able to get back there. I hope so. I hope so I think a lot of damage has been done to both our democracy and also to our image overseas what we call soft power the ability to get people to follow us without coercing them that soft power has been diminished dramatically during the trump administration. We no longer have of they trust and it shows up in public opinion polls so far. Most governments are reluctant to criticize the administration but even there at the the meeting in London last week it was obvious that there were these Photo opportunities of many of the several have NATO heads of estate mad cow joking about the president that kind of thing truly diminishes our influence is not just a matter of image. It's a matter of whether people be willing to follow us except our judgments. What's what's what's at risk here? I mean suppose the United States says you know who who really cares about NATO anymore. It's getting old and we can. We can sort of really diminish our our role in it or even let it dissolve. Who cares what's the problem with that? The problem is that we're talking about out of a world in which there are still threats. Soviet Union no longer around Borussia definitely has been working against not only providing a fairly substantial essential military threat against West but also political one has one as well messing around in our elections and also messing around in European elections as well we also who have terrorism out there and and growing challenge from China all of those things benefit our interest by cooperating with our NATO allies. I I obviously the world is still out there folks and I don't know I've always taken a little bit of comfort in the idea that something like NATO was in business. So let's see let's see of listeners out there has to say friends friends online from newborn fred morning. It's an interesting theory is far as the State Department's concerns in the Defense Department's it's called the stability instability paradox and it seems to be working quite well right now..

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